Gross National Happiness

Gross National Happiness

The idea of Gross National Happiness has great visionary and symbolic power, writes Maureen Gaffney

IN 1972, the little Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan did a very radical and wise thing. The king established a Gross National Happiness programme, intended to be a more accurate measure of national wellbeing than GDP, or indeed GNP, the primary indicators of social wellbeing in western nations.

Ireland, currently in the grip of a post-Celtic Tiger hangover, may seem a little way off achieving such wisdom, but not as much as we might fear. The publication by the National Competitiveness Council (NCC) of an important discussion paper on wellbeing and competitiveness is another important step in the acknowledgement by Government and senior policymakers that the definition of national success must be amplified well beyond the traditional measures of economic wellbeing.

The discussion paper is thoughtful and, with some caveats, a well-researched exploration of what constitutes wellbeing, the drivers of wellbeing, and the limitations of current measures in assessing wellbeing.

To read more on this idea that there’s more to a nation’s wellbeing than economic success (i.e. happiness) – click here